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Branch Protection

Gruntwork Pipelines is designed to be used with a PR based workflow. This means an approval on a PR is an approval to deploy infrastructure, making the configuration of repo settings and branch protection especially important.

By default, Gruntwork pipelines runs a plan on every push to a PR and an apply on every push to main. Branch protection should be enabled on main to prevent changes from being applied without approval.

  • Require a pull request before merging should be enabled.
  • Require approvals should be enabled. Optionally, more than one approval could be required.
  • Require review from Code Owners should be enabled if you need control over which users are required to review specific code areas. See the GitHub Documentation for more information.
  • Require status checks to pass before merging should be enabled.

    This prevents apply from running when plan fails and ensures any validation rules your organization has put in place have been run.

  • Require branches to be up to date before merging should be enabled with the Pipelines workflow selected as required.

    This option prevents apply from running with an inaccurate plan, but has a tradeoff of increased GitHub Actions minute usage. When the PR is not up to date you will see the following message: Recommended Branch Protection Settings With this option disabled, another PR could be merged into main after this PR has run plan. No new plan would be run in that scenario, so the apply has a higher likelihood of failure. If this risk is acceptable to your organization you may choose to ignore this recommendation.

The following is an example of the recommended settings for branch protection: Recommended Branch Protection Settings


You may wish to enable Do not allow bypassing the above settings to prevent admins from bypassing the branch protection rules. This will limit your options for applying emergency fixes, but is more secure.

PR Workflow

  1. Developers make infrastructure changes on a branch and create a PR against main
  2. On PR creation, Gruntwork Pipelines runs plan on any changes and posts the results as a comment
  3. Gruntwork Pipelines re-runs plan on every push to the branch and posts results as a comment
  4. Approvals are gathered. If codeowners is enabled, the owner of each changed folder/file must approve the PR before it can be merged
  5. Once approved, the PR is merged into main
  6. Gruntwork Pipelines runs apply on any changes from the PR
    • On Success, a comment is placed on the PR indicating success
    • On Failure, a new GitHub issue is created describing the failure. A new PR must be created to resolve any failures.